User's Manual: Skin

Great Skin: Look Younger from the Neck Down

Take time off your...neck
Smoking, genetics, sudden weight loss, the sun—you can blame any or all of these for the current state of your neck. Horizontal grooves and blotchy tone are a result of too much time in the sun without sunscreen. Far more troubling, however, is the dreaded “turkey neck” that may appear thanks to a combination of sagging skin and protruding neck bands (caused by the tightening of a thin sheet of muscle called the platysma).

Simple fixes: Since the skin on your neck is thin and sensitive, all-star ingredients like retinoids and alpha hydroxy acid may be too irritating. Instead, doctors suggest applying face creams that have gentle anti-agers like copper peptides, which boost collagen production and tighten skin over time; find them in Dr. Jeannette Graf, MD, Copper Collagen Infusion.

Intensive solutions: Unfortunately, creams are no match for ultra-lax skin and rigid bands. Botox ($500 to $1,000 a visit) is the best solution because it weakens the platysma muscle, relaxing the tight cords so skin lies flat for up to six months. The radio frequency treatment Thermage can tighten the neck in just one visit, but its really pricey, costing upwards of $5,000. Its a relatively new treatment, so doctors arent sure how long results will last. But the company that developed
the technology estimates at least several years.

Skin savers for your neck: Dr. Jeannette Graf, MD, Copper Collagen Infusion ($24.50; www.hsn.com)
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